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Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022 | Epos 257: Entry Prohibited

29 June 2022 > 19 July 2022 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition "Prohibited Entry" by the Czech artist Epos 257, on Wednesday 29 June at 7 pm. The project is part of the Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022.

In a call for the Art Challenge working residency at the Asylum Studio in June, a four-member commission unanimously selected a Prague artist, working under the name Epos 257, from 43 impressive proposals. In addition to the exhibition project at the Alkatraz Gallery, the artist will realize a public intervention in the space of AKC Metelkova mesto.

The Czech artist Epos 257, whose identity remains unknown to the general public, works in and with the urban environment and iconography of a city. In his creative practice, he comes up with innovative approaches, focusing mainly on the themes and questions of public space and current social issues. The number in his name is the number of a Czech law dealing with damage to private property, which he has often come into contact with in his creative, socially critical practice. He is a graduate of the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, where he is currently finishing his doctoral studies, and a former member of the Ztohoven interdisciplinary group. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the Czech Republic and around the world.

The artist is inspired by urban life, which he observes from various perspectives, studies and shapes, and thus establishes a relationship with it through his own active participation, through active participation of other participants and passers-by, who observe and interact with his creative transformation of space. The purpose is to encourage rebellion in public space by confronting with the engaged art that exposes and protests against internationally present authoritarian tendencies of urban governance by, otherwise, democratically elected authorities that do not contribute to limiting the actual influence of elites. In his work, he explores and questions the rapid internalization and normalization of prohibition by the community and, consequently, the limits of our (non) freedom. At the same time, with his works, he touches upon the inefficiency of the institutions that govern us and discovers cracks in the laws that we can use to increase our own freedom. With his ingenious, accomplished and sophisticated interventions, he reaches the wider community with a desire to awaken it from apathy and encourage for action to demand and restore rights to the city. He achieves all this through substantively visually inspiring interventions in the outdoor and indoor public space, which electrify the common living space and add new meanings to it as well as remind us of the extensive possibilities of common welfare.

Through his works, Epos 257 also questions his own attitude towards society, as public space gives him greater freedom of expression, but it also awakens in him a sense of his own responsibility for the environment that surrounds him. This dynamic is especially present in the activities that were an integral part of the creative process that led to his exhibition at the Alkatraz Gallery. In terms of implementation, it was also a big organizational task, in which, in addition to the production team, a large group of local artists also participated. This interesting combination will outline in the gallery a prohibition of access to a space, which will be directly related to violence, and will embody the space as a crime scene that still resonates in the space. The violence in this case is not the violence of an individual's criminal activities, but the violence of the holders of power. This ranges from pointless bans in public spaces, gentrification, the unwelcomeness of public space users, such as the homeless, all those without status and real estate property or movables like cars, to the hostile treatment of refugees by repressive authorities, to the violence of war (in Ukraine) – which  makes us victims of those (laws) that are supposed to represent our well-being. The barely visible consequences of firearms are a metaphorical revelation of this deliberately hidden violence, connected with the shrinking of public space in favor of the private one, against the inhabitants of the city. The sound of gunfire will shock us in order to awaken anger in us we no longer even know is simmering inside us.

The residency is implemented with the partnership of the Intitute for Urban Question, the project is part of the Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022.

Support: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, The City Municipality of Ljubljana.

Photographies of the exhibition by Nada Žgank.